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Top 5 Learnings From Middle School Retreats

  • Academics
  • The Aspen Difference
Corey Sampson

Each year, Aspen Academy students start their year off by attending our Middle School Retreats for two days. Here are a few of the big takeaways for what students experience in this focused time together:

  1. Relationships: The two days these students spend with others in their grade supports them in building relationships of trust and camaraderie with others in their homeroom. 

  2. Challenges: The retreats take students out of their comfort zones while they remain in a safe space. For some students that could be sleeping on the ground or experiencing a trust walk, for other students that could be physically exerting themselves in new ways.

  3. Team-Building: Teamwork is a value that runs not only through our AEI and AYLI curricula, but is also emphasized as part of these retreats. For students, the challenges they experience during the retreats forge better understanding about the strength in themselves and in those around them.

  4. Conflict-Resolution and Coping Skills: On the trip, students experience new challenges that present opportunities to demonstrate conflict-resolution and coping skills. Perhaps they’ll have to demonstrate empathy with a friend who is struggling to put up their tent, or console a friend who didn’t get the tent they wanted. The trip creates a dialogue on how the students’ good decisions give them an opportunity to experience privileges later.

  5. Grit: Grit is hard to learn. It’s much easier to experience and that’s part of what this trip is about: giving our students opportunities to have experiences that enable them to connect with their potential.


About the Author

Corey Sampson is Middle School Director at Aspen Academy. He taught Social Sciences at international and private schools for 13 years. Before teaching he was involved with a variety of nonprofits working on social and political issues. He loves teaching at Aspen because of the community. The families, the students, and the teachers here make this school unlike any other school he has taught at.

Corey loves to travel with his wife and experience the world. He has been to 6 continents and has lived and worked in 4 of them. If anyone has a trip planned to Antarctica, let him know.